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Water Contamination And Its Impact On Health ~ Dr. Antonio Giordano | SHRO

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

Water Contamination And Its Impact On Health

The drought in the summer season has already put a lot of strain on crops and water resources of the Po Valley, so much so that the government had to take emergency measures to secure the necessary water supply for the general public. The report from GolettaVerde provides an update on the state of waters and coasts in Italy.

According to the report, out of 31 sites along the coasts of Campania, 14 are highly polluted whereas 17 falls within the limits allowed by law.

Highly critical points were detected in the Province of Caserta near the mouth of the Savone River in Mondragone, and in the Province of Naples near the Regi Lagni in Castel Volturno. For years, we have been denouncing the presence of pollutants that have caused serious damage to the health of the local population, calling for the application of laws on eco-crimes.

The annual analysis by Legambiente highlighted ten areas that were strongly above the concentration levels for enterococci and escheria coli, types of bacteria in the human intestine that, when in high concentration, impact the health of human beings. Those areas were Sarno, Licola, and the coast between Salerno and Capaccio. Lombardy is also on alarm, where the ARPA has been engaged for years in detecting polluted sources, even radioactive, hidden among the debris. Human exposure to contaminants present in the soil is a high-risk factor and a cause of numerous diseases. This is monitored by the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (the leading technical-scientific body of the Italian National Health Institute).

Polluted sites are considered all those areas in which, as a result of previous or ongoing human activities, it is detectable an alteration of the qualitative characteristics of the environmental matrices of water, soil, and subsoil.

There are various types of contaminants: natural, which are present in rocks, and water flows, such as arsenic. Then there are non-natural contaminants, caused by humans, such as nitrates resulting from the intensive use of nitrogen present in fertilizers. However, microbiological contamination remains the most widespread danger, which can induce serious pathological conditions.

Contaminated waters contain bacteria, whose effects on human and animal health vary from mild to severe, including not only infectious diseases but also consequences such as diseases of the nervous system, dangers to the unborn, bone and kidney diseases, impact on fertility, as well as developmental problems in adolescents.

In addition to all of this, we must mention the hundreds of kilometers of aqueduct pipes still made of asbestos, which, while intact, do not cause any damage, but causes cancer when damaged.

In conclusion, we must understand that our survival is linked to water. In the past, it might have been necessary to pay this price for industrial progress to the detriment of the environment. However, it has been backfiring today with global warming, droughts, water pollution, crime, and cancer.

The above article was first published in Italian by Dr. Antonio Giordano in Fortune Italia.

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